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Berry Tramel  


Oklahoma City Thunder: Why not go after Chauncey Billups?

by Berry Tramel Modified: July 5, 2013 at 1:50 pm •  Published: July 3, 2013
Denver''s Chauncey Billups in the Thunder - Nuggets game January 2, 2009.    BY HUGH SCOTT, THE OKLAHOMAN
Denver''s Chauncey Billups in the Thunder - Nuggets game January 2, 2009. BY HUGH SCOTT, THE OKLAHOMAN
The Thunder apparently is waltzing with Dorell Wright on the free-agent market. But if Wright wants more money, and the Thunder remains in the market for a free agent addition, I’ve got a name to throw out.

Chauncey Billups.

The Thunder has brought in Derek Fisher late in the regular season the last two years. Billups is Fisher 2.0. Savvy veteran. Great shooter. Can play point guard or shooting guard. Doesn’t really defend at a high level anymore but knows how to play and won’t get you beat. And Billups, 36, is two years younger than Fisher.

A variety of reports have Billups likely leaving the Clippers, for whom he has played the last two seasons. Yahoo!Sports reported that Billups has drawn interest from Cleveland, San Antonio, Dallas, Sacramento, Brooklyn and Minnesota. Others have speculated that Detroit, where Billups rose to fame as NBA Finals MVP in 2004, could be a destination.

But why not OKC? Billups doesn’t have a lot of mileage left, and a torn Achilles tendon in the 2011-12 season cost him much of the last two seasons, when he played just 20 and 22 games for the Clippers. But Billups remains an effective player. He averaged 15.0 points a game and shot 38.4 percent from 3-point range in 2011-12. Last season, Billups averaged 8.4 points and shot 36.7 percent from 3-point range, but in less playing time. As recently as Game 1 of the playoff series against Memphis in April, Billups had 14 points in 21 minutes.

Billups is a class guy. No one ever has a bad thing to say about the 16-year pro.

The Thunder doesn’t need a 25-minute a night player. The Thunder has Reggie Jackson to back up Russell Westbrook at point guard and Jeremy Lamb as the designated sharpshooter. But having Chauncey Billups to help out with both roles for 10-15 minutes a night could pay off.


by Berry Tramel
Berry Tramel, a lifelong Oklahoman, sports fan and newspaper reader, joined The Oklahoman in 1991 and has served as beat writer, assistant sports editor, sports editor and columnist. Tramel grew up reading four daily newspapers — The Oklahoman,...
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